Critical thinking, problem solving, adaptability, interpersonal awareness, creativity, lifelong learning, and communications are leadership skills effective teachers use daily. There is no substitute for a teacher’s understandings and ability to determine how best to interact with each unique student and teaching situation. School and district cultures that convey respect, trust, and support for teachers’ instructional leadership are fertile ground for students’ deeper learning to take root.
To provide deeper learning for their students, teachers’ leadership skills and attitudes are especially important. In leading deeper learning, such as challenge-solving projects, among other roles teachers are facilitators, guides, and learners who model strategies for thinking and devise open-ended questions that encourage students’ reflections and deeper inquiry. Effective facilitation takes astute leadership.
Teachers need to know what questions to ask when and to whom to support learners in going deeper in their thinking. For example, “From the three available web sites, what criteria led you to choose this web site as a major source of data?” “How could you find people to interview who might represent varied perspectives?” “What can be done to help ensure that everyone in your discussion group participates equally?”
School educators’ work is complicated. It requires a refined mix of analysis, creativity, communications, and human relations skills and dispositions – in addition to up-to-date knowledge of content and research backed teaching practices. Organizational structures and interactions that promote educators’ leadership and continued growth provide a foundation for providing students with quality deeper learning.
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Copyright © 2015 Lee Anna Stirling
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